AN Oldham IT consultant is appealing for old laptops to restore and supply to children struggling to study remotely during the Covid crisis.

It comes as new data by The Sutton Trust, a leading educational charity, shows just 10% of teachers report that all their students have adequate access to a device for remote learning, a slight increase from 7% in March.

Their research also reveals that 54% of private schools say all their students have access to the right equipment but only 2% of state schools can say the same in the most deprived areas.

The government’s promise to deliver devices to schools has been criticised for falling woefully short, causing children to be priced out of education while waiting on devices.

Andy Powell, who runs a digital training consultancy near Mumps, has stepped in to help the children being forced to wait.

In a Twitter call-out to Oldham residents he wrote: “I'm on the scrounge, if you have an old laptop gathering dust, I'd love to take it off your hands, clear it of data, install free software and get it into the hands of a family that can benefit from it.”

A dozen laptops have already been offered by locals that will be wiped and reconditioned before being sent out to families.

Responding to reports that the number of schools where all pupils have a laptop has barely increased, Labour’s Shadow Schools Minister, Wes Streeting MP, said: “Ten months into this pandemic and a week into this third national lockdown ‘coming soon’ is just not good enough.”

The government has said one million devices will reach schools, colleges and councils if they need it.

Mr Powell, who has been working to support digital inclusion for a number of years, said:

"With my own son doing home learning over lockdown I became increasingly aware of just how many kids have no access to computers. At the same time - with years working in IT - I’m aware of just how many computers are lying around.

"I decided to donate some time to clean up some of these unused PCs and get them into the hands of people who can make use of them.”

If you have a laptop at home, you can drop it off at Seftons, 139-143 Union Street, Oldham, during office hours, or contact Andy on Twitter @p0welly